Ralph Dumain: “The Autodidact Project”: Anthony Braxton: The 3rd Millennial Interview

Ralph Dumain raises some points in his Autodidact Project that I have been discussing with friends and family in real life for years, and only now have begun elaborating on in writing. The same issues–concerning the containment of Afro-American creativity within so-called “acceptable” social spheres (namely, the played-out “exotica zone” of the Cotton Club or the Hip-Hop club or the fucking “jazz club”)–are salient in regards to how Afro-American literature is still treated to this day, even with the successes of Colson Whitehead, Teju Cole and Paul Beatty.


Anthony Braxton: The Third Millennial Interview with Mike Heffley
Copyright Š 2001 Anthony Braxton & Mike Heffley. All rights reserved.

Extracts, with Commentary by Ralph Dumain

The plain text in each numbered selection is commentary by Anthony Braxton extracted from the interview and published by The Autodidact Project with permission of Mike Heffley. Italicized paragraphs are commentary by Ralph Dumain (© 2003 Ralph Dumain).

session 1


I’m no fan of Spike Lee’s, but the fact that he would have a project dabbling in minstrelsy, on whatever level, is just further proof that the components of the third millennium will be very different from what we came up with in the ’60s. For instance, much of the hip-hop music that we’re experiencing right now has a minstrel component. More and more, it’s the tough guy celebrating vulgarity—which isn’t to say this is the only component of hip-hop. I have a…

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